The Billie Top by StyleArc is a an interesting top made out of (basically) one piece. By “one piece” I mean that the front and back are all one giant piece with a single side seam down the right side. (There is a neck facing too, but more on that later…) I made this up in a black and tan striped knit that was 50% cotton, 50% rayon. I think the rayon helps with the drapiness, and the stripes really highlight the craziness of the pattern.
I didn’t realize it until I read Sew Busy Lizzy’s post about a top from the book “Drape Drape 2” that this pattern is very similar. I wish I would have taken a picture of the pattern piece flat like she did so you could see the differences, but check out her post here. The main differences are that the StyleArc pattern has a pleat along the neck on the right side, while the Drape Drape pattern has a longer sleeve instead. I have to say I really like the pleat in the StyleArc version because it adds to the “swooping” effect of the drape in the front. (Wow, my writing is so technical.) Although, one problem I have with the StyleArc version is that the weight of the left side (the side with more volume) tends to pull the top to that side. I wonder if adding a short sleeve would help with this.
Here’s the technical drawing of the top. I’d say it looks like the drawing.
If you’re thinking about making this top, here are some tips…
- You’re going to need some space to cut this out. Seriously. The main body piece took up 2 yards of fabric for me, which didn’t all fit on my cutting table at once. You’re going to have to pin and cut with scissors unless you have a monster rotary cutting mat. (I would love to make this in a silk woven, but I have no idea how I would cut it!)
- Label the right side / wrong side of your cut fabric pieces really well! My fabric looked the same front and back, but since all the pattern pieces are asymmetric it really matters that you keep track. I spent a good amount of time puzzling over which way my pieces needed to go.
- If you’re making it in a knit, skip the facing and just fold over and stitch. I can’t express how much the facing complicated things in a loose drapey knit! I think it was included since the pattern is for wovens or knits, but it just did not work for me, and the reviews at patternreview.com say the same thing. (Why do I always read the reviews AFTER making the pattern? Doy.) Next time I’ll just flip and stitch.
Do you like how the stripes meet up to make chevrons on the shoulder seam? Yeah, that was a complete accident.
Funny story… I sewed this up during the January full day “Sew In” that Lynne organized, and it took me pretty much all day. Okay, I’m sure most of my problem was excessive gabbing! But, with my problems figuring out which side was the right side of my fabric, which way the pleat went, re-threading my serger a dozen times when it didn’t want to work, and then trying to fix the facing after I stretched it out… let’s just say I made this a lot more complicated than it should have been. Of course I HAD to start the morning by announcing I was working on this really easy one piece top, and then Kitty kept following up with “So, how’s that one piece top coming along?”. Gah! Me and my big mouth. (By the way, the next Sew-In is in April, sign up here!)